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I have been a live in assistant to a Vietnam vet with Parkinson's for over three years. I first came to help out a friend who was coming home from a hospital stay and I am stIll here after 3 yrs. This vet is financially stable and will not qualify for assistance based on income. When I inquired about a paycheck he said that free room and board is compensation enough. I literally gave up my "life" to be here to assist him. I no longer am in touch with any of my friends from where I used to live and have not made any new social contacts since bieng here. I am 53 years old and have $0.00 for retirement.

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So why do you stay? Don't let him snow you about not being able to afford care, as a senior disabled vet there are services he can tap into if he looks hard enough. And on your way out the door wish him good luck in finding someone who will work for room& board lol.
You only have another 15 years to try to save for your own future, don't delay.

www.agingcare.com/veterans-assistance
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I understand completely why you waited 3 yrs. I told my brother things that I never should have said about paying all the bills for my mom. I have a giving heart and once I got in the situation living with my mother and caregiver I change my mind after a while because I realized how naive I was about letting her monthly checks build up while I am ready for a nervous breakdown and my brothers would be making money in the end while I am killing myself after 3 yrs!!!
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You didn't ask a question but I'm assuming you are thinking to yourself what now after three years!? However you made your living before, dust off your resume and get it in circulation. You've had a long course in caring for a Parkinson's patient so perhaps that could be the position you seek only this time for pay. He's your friend right? He shouldn't have a problem with your actively looking for work while remaining in his home. You aren't a vet nor or you financially stable so he should understand that you have to prepare for your future. You could help him interview the new applicants who will be lined up out the door for the room and board position. Good luck and don't put it off. It's going to be hard starting from scratch but you can do it much better at 53 than anytime in the future.
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Same as everyone else, I'm wondering what kept you. Three years?!

I should put it to your veteran that if he thinks he can get full-time care in exchange for room and board only, he can just try it when you leave. Frankly, he is taking you for a mug.
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I'm using an ultra conservative figure for a pay comparison and a super generous figure for a room and board comparison - but you are doing roughly $9,000 worth of work each month for roughly $2,000 worth of R&B and that's throwing in free use of a car and gas. Sorry to be a hard ass here - but your "friend" is taking advantage of you - big time!
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What he is doing is not legal.
He can apply for assistance from the VA and that would help greatly.
I suggest, if you wish to continue to work for this person that you draw up a contract with hours specified, time off specified, and include vacation. Indicate what you will do, what you will not do. And call around in your area what live in caregivers are paid. And you will find even live in caregivers get time off none of them work 24/7, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Please also make sure that he has insurance that will cover injuries. This may have to be added to his homeowners insurance. Not sure how that works, I was with a program through the VA called VIP and that was covered through the program.
If he does not agree to pay you fair wage starting from this point then you should give him a date that you will have to discontinue working for him. And I suggest that you begin looking for work. If you like being a Caregiver there are many agencies that need good dedicated honest people.
Notice I did not even get into past compensation. Water under the bridge so to speak.
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As you now see, this should have been arranged for from the beginning. It's odd that after 3 years that you are only now questioning it. If he were to pay you, he'd also have to pay social security taxes on wages. You have lost out on 3 years of earnings going towards social security. You need to rapidly begin saving towards retirement! Get a job quickly....with benefits and hopefully one that has a savings plan that will match funds. He can hire help and get benefits due him.
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Ifhe had a 24/7 companion through an agency he would be paying 8-10K a month. And that would be four caregivers, each with eight hour shifts. Look for work to take care of yourself.
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borialis30, you are caught between a rock and a hard place.   You probably used up all your savings to help take care of yourself, clothing, car, etc. and now you find yourself with zero savings.

Even if you do find that job with great benefits, where will you live?   It would be great if your patient friend would let you live in his house if you pay some rent until you can build up enough funds for 1st months and security at an apartment.   Or try to rebuild those past friendships and live with one of them until you are back on your feet.

It is good that you are thinking about this NOW instead of a decade down the road.   Better late than never, as some would say.   Hope everything works out for you.

Please keep us updated :)
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No, that's definitely not right. It's wrong especially if you have nothing for retirement. Given your situation, I personally would move out now. I'm not sure who you would turn to about something like this given your description, but I would definitely return to my life as I knew it before this. I would just explain to him that you need money for other things and what you were doing. Just tell him you have nothing for retirement, which is why you must move out and return to work. Just explain you have other expenses that take money and you need money. Grocery stores for starters don't give away free food, and garages don't do free repairs if your car breaks down. You must pay for those things among many other things in life. It takes money to get by. Thank him for the free room and board, but you have other expenses that require money and you can't live like you're living without money. 

One question you're also going to want to ask him is what will happen if one day he's not around no more because one day he'll be gone. Remind him he won't be around forever and you need to think of the future and if he has your best interest at heart, he needs to think of yours. 

Another thing to consider is what will you do if he gets mad for some odd reason and suddenly decides to evict you? What will become of you and where will you go with no money? This is a serious risk of living with someone else and not having any money because they can evict you anytime they choose. You're under their roof and it's their rules but there's a twist: you have tenant rights. if something like this were to break out you would definitely need a lawyer to go after backpay because you have no proof of any paystub's he has made and they would probably make him pay dearly, and possibly with interest. If he were to evict you tomorrow, you will need money to get your own place and back on your feet. This is why you would need a lawyer who takes a portion of your winnings and not out of your pocket if you have nothing. 

You really need to start thinking of these things here and now especially given your age. 

My questions to you 
1. If something were to happen to you, what about your medical expenses and what if you need medical care? What if you have certain conditions and need ongoing care and medication? Who will pay for that? 

2. What if you died, then what? Who will pay for your funeral and final disposition? What are your final wishes? How will you pay to make sure your final wishes are honored and carried out? Where will the money come from? 

3. What about your estate and assets? Yes, you need a will and you need to make it through a lawyer, and this takes money. 

4. Where do you store your belongings? Can they all fit in the house? Do you have overflow that you must put into storage? Paying for a storage rental takes money. You need money for that. 

5. Do you have a car? If so, I assume you probably have a license and insurance that must be paid. Every so often you must renew your license and plates. You must also pay for insurance to stay on the road. Where will the money come when those things come due? 

Consequences of no pay:  
 
* You can't possibly keep a car, a license or insurance. 

* Not being able to pay for storage will cost you all of your belongings. 

* You can't file a will and probate if you can't pay the fee. 

* Medical expenses cost money along with prescriptions. No money means no prescriptions. 

* No money means your funeral and final wishes won't be covered. 

Yes, this is an awful lot to think about but very important and very necessary. You really need to decide for yourself how much you really care about these things and how well you want to be taken care of when you most need it because needs often change.  given your age, there is no guarantee your needs won't change as you age. Maybe they will, maybe they won't, but you really need to bring up these things and give him the ultimatum. 

What you need to also do is use social media to your advantage and warn others about this type of thing and about this particular type of person who happens to be a tightwad. He wants care but he won't pay for it? Deadbeat! 

 What I would suggest you do is get a lawyer anyway and definitely go for backpay with interest. If you have proof you actually live at that address such as a piece of mail or something, definitely show proof of address and residency. You do have tenants rights, but research your state laws and see how your tenant rights work in your state. Research tenant rights in case he does try to evict you. If this ever happens, you need a lawyer anyway, you may as well get one now before your face with an unexpected emergency such as eviction with nowhere to go but in a cardboard box on the street or under a bridge. I wouldn't think you would want this to happen and in some towns, vagrancy as they call it is illegal and cops will pick up the homeless in such towns. What they do with them after picking them up, I don't know where they go. Around here though, we've had some homeless people actually vanish, but I don't know where they're taken when they're picked up. Don't be among those who vanish, get yourself taken care of and get yourself a paycheck, and a very good one
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